This is my version of the malasadas I got a chance to eat and help make at Leonard’s in Honolulu. They’re eggier and airier than your average donut, a result of the the rich batter and long rise times. Leonard’s has all kinds of delicious Hawaiian-flavored fillings to pipe into their malasadas, but my preference in these and all members of the fried-dough family, is to eschew fillings. (Unless it’s a Dunkin Donuts vanilla crème donut, which is basically vanilla cake frosting forced into a donut, which is gross in the way that I like things to be.) For me, a generous coating of cinnamon sugar is all these things need. —Christina Tosi
- 2 t active dry yeast
- 1 T + 1/4 C sugar
- 1/2 C warm water
- 2 1/4 C bread flour
- 1 t kosher salt
- 1/2 C nonfat milk powder
- 1 t vanilla extract
- 1 t white vinegar
- 2 whole eggs
- 1 T room-temperature butter
- + cooking spray
- + oil for frying
- 1 C sugar
- 1/4 C light brown sugar
- 1 T ground cinnamon
- 1 t kosher salt
Whisk together the yeast, 1 tablespoon sugar, and warm water in the workbowl of a stand mixer until the yeast is dissolved, then set the bowl aside for 5 minutes to let the sugar and yeast start working together.
In the meantime, measure out the remaining dry ingredients into a mixing bowl and stir together until homogeneous. In another bowl, measure out the wet ingredients and whisk them together until homogeneous.
Affix the dough hook to the mixer and add half the dry ingredients to the yeast-water in the work bowl. Mix on the mixer’s slowest setting for a minute or two, just until they’ve started to coalesce. Add half the wet ingredients, mix for a minute or two, until they’ve been absorbed into the dough. Repeat with the remaining dry, then wet ingredients. Lastly, knead the butter into the dough. The dough will be almost rebelliously wet—wetter than your average brioche dough—and that’s the way you want it. Once it’s smooth (approximately 8 minutes of hooking on speed 1), transfer it to a lightly greased bowl, cover, and place in a warm, dark spot. I like to cover with a towel and put in an off oven for 2 hours. (This is a good time to toss together the cinnamon sugar.)
After 2 hours, turn the dough out onto the counter. With clean hands, start pinching off golf-ball-sized pieces of wet dough with your first finger and thumb. Smooth out each dough ball in your hands or on the counter. Transfer to a greased baking sheet, leaving about two inches between each ball. When all the dough has been balled, spray your farinaceous armada with a faint mist of cooking spray and cover loosely with plastic wrap. Leave out on the counter for 2 more hours. (I know—it feels like forever, but if you try and rush it you won’t get anything more than an average donut.)
After 2 patient hours, pull out a small, heavy-bottomed pan (or if you’re my mom, get out your countertop deep fryer). Heat 4 to 6 cups of canola oil or a similarly light, flavorless oil to 400°F. (Please use caution when heating oil, and dipping, flipping, and fishing out malasadas. We don’t want an inbox full of burn-victim mail.)
With a perforated spoon or small strainer, gently pick a proofed dough ball from under the greasy plastic sheath and lower it into the hot oil. Submerge and flip the dough as it slowly browns. At 400°F the dough balls should take 1–2 minutes to fry all the way through. If your oil doesn’t get hot enough, the outer shell of your malasada will be crisp, rather than browned and soft—one of the big differences between a malasada and a yeast donut.
Use the same perforated spoon or strainer to pull the malasadas out of the oil. Transfer to a cake rack or paper towels to cool and drain for a minute, then, while they’re still hot, plop them one by one into a bowl of cinnamon sugar and toss until coated.
Allow malasadas to rest before serving/eating If you rush this, your malasadas will be doughy/underdone in the center. But eat them warm—they do not improve with age!
A variation: If you don’t feel like frying up all that dough into malasadas, you’re in luck: the fully-proofed malasada dough can be baked into the sweet yellow Portuguese bread pao dolce. Let the last 2 hours of proofing happen in a greased 10″ pie tin, lightly covered in greased plastic wrap. Remove the plastic and brush or spray the top with additional oil, then bake at 350°F until the loaf is golden, about 30 minutes for a 10-inch loaf.